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Can Alexa be a telecare system to listen out when you need emergency help?

Could Amazon’s Alexa disrupt the telecare industry?

Amazon dot a small black disc gadget with blue lights.

Amazon ‘Echo dot’ is now arond £50 and can connect to your mobile phone.

If you need help and can’t reach a phone, Amazon’s Alexa could be a lifeline.

Amazon’s hands-free devices are becoming more and more popular for disabled people who are finding them a boon for enhancing daily life, with an easy interface and voice control of music, books, information  and web shopping. In homes up and down the country, people are using them for everything from ordering shopping online to checking the weather. And now they can call your friends and relatives when you want them, adding a new level of communication and if needed, support. Almost an Alexa telecare system!
Amazon has added a new function to Alexa to allow you to link your mobile phone and call a friend or relative.  You can use it to phone or message anyone hands-free using the alexa family of devices including Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Show or the Alexa app on android smart phones or iphones, all with no extra cost.

Could Alexa supplement or replace telecare alarms for some people?

The Telecare industry provides peace of mind for people at home who may need help in an emergency and their families, traditionally using push button pendants worn on the body or pullcords installed in the house. The Alexa Echo system means you won’t even need to access those devices to make a call straight to your nearest and dearest, so could provide competition.
On the plus side, there are no buttons to be pushed or cords to be pulled. Only your voice is needed to activate Alexa and get your call made or message sent to your friends or relatives. All they need to do is download the free app onto their phones, and they can be reached instantly whenever you want. It does mean they will need their phones on and charged at all times. It also means that you need to be in voice range of an alexa device and able to call out. You could buy the smaller echo dot (at £50) and put them in each room. There is a voice operated controller that could also be carried.
And it’s not just in an emergency that you can make a call. Alexa will let you stay in touch all the time, with a hands-free calling and messaging system. this could be very useful for people who struggle with the buttons on phones or understanding how to use smart phones. Alexa will let also let you know when someone is calling you and the light ring will pulse green on newer Echo devices. You ask Alexa to answer or ignore the call.

“Drop in” : remote listening by others to your room!

There is also a feature called Drop In that allows selected family and friends to automatically call in to your device and listen to anything happening in range. This has privacy issues but could also be very reassuring to family and can be completely controlled by the owner of the device.

 

Disadvantages of Alexa as a telecare device

On the other hand, Alexa’s benefits are offset by the lack of 24-hour monitoring and support from call centres that are provided by a local Council services or private companies and the device could be affected by power cuts, whereas telecare systems are protected with back-up batteries.
A dark cylinder that houses the gadget Amazon alexa

Amazon echo

 

Old man with a telecare alarm pendant

Alarms needn’t be stigmatising but some people may feel that way. Image from https://www.telecarechoice.co.uk/ who are a private telecare provider

Then there is the issue of cost. Alexa costs £50 for the smaller ‘echo dot’ system but as mentioned above, you may need more than one to provide coverage- and while it offers a whole lot more than just telecare of course, it could be a big cost to pay upfront, compared to the smaller weekly charge, (around £5 or less), for traditional telecare devices.

However, some people may be reluctant to have telecare installed because of the stigma issues of pendants and monitoring. ‘Alexa telecare’ may be much more appealing to younger people or as a stepping stone to more traditional telecare if it becomes needed or as a supplement to offer more options and a ‘less formal’ call for help.

So what else can it offer? Alexa brings a whole world of communication, including downloadable quizzes, podcasts and music from Amazon. You can listen to the news, find out about the weather and “check in” with friends and relatives – as well as order anything online from mail order giants Amazon.
For some it might be a good way to supplement your existing emergency telecare needs; for others, it could even replace it altogether. But it’s worth investigating the device before you make an investment in it.

Learn more about Alexa and Echo here: amazon.co.uk/alexacalling

A service directory of telecare providers is here https://www.tsa-voice.org.uk/service-provider-directory

Top Four Packaging Openers and Safety Cutters

Top Packaging Openers and Safety Cutters

 

Using a purpose made safety cutter makes opening those eagerly awaited mail order products so much quicker and safer! We’re buying more online than ever before and with online shopping comes box after box of not always well-wrapped goodies. Getting packages open is not easy at the best of times and it can be highly problematic if you have a disability which effects your limbs, grip, fine motor skills or coordination. Here we’re looking at some gadgets designed to make ripping open boxes and getting to your goodies easier than ever before, with an eye on their suitability for disabled people.

Many of the package openers on the market are utility tools which can be used around the home in other ways. Many cutters double up as kitchen tools, can be used for cutting ties off clothes, couponing, arts and crafts and much more.

iSlice Safety Cutter

The iSlice Safety Cutter features a ceramic blade, which is quick, easy and safe to use. The device is a complete replacement for scissors and traditional safety knives. It can be used for removing film, shrink wrap or difficult moulded plastic packaging. It is also magnetised and has a built-in keyring hole making it portable and easy to use on the go.

 

Westcott Box Opener

Once again featuring a ceramic blade, this Westcott Utility Cutter benefits from a durable and robust design. Ceramic lasts up to 10 times longer than stainless steel so it makes for a long-lasting blade. The compact size of this box opener makes it a popular choice and the fixed blade and finger loop help when guiding and controlling the blade.

 

Zibra Open-It!

Sold as a product which relieves the stress of “wrap rage”, the Zibra Open-It is a strong utility cutter. It can slice through hard packaging as well as paper and plastic, easily breaking through twist ties and zip ties. It has additional functionality allowing it to pop bottle caps and unscrew bottle caps.

 

 

 

 

 

Nimble: The One-Finger Package Opener – Our Top Pick!

Yellow thimble shaped rubber cutting tool

Nimble Safety Cutter

Topping our list of package openers is the Nimble. This smart and unique device stands out because of its accessible design. Using just a single finger, this device makes it easy for people with a range of disabilities to easily cut and slice as required. A single finger swipe can cut open a box, food packaging or any other item, without any risk of injury. The safe blade profile offers no risk of injury and it the one-finger operation design (patent pending) means even if you have limited hand mobility, you should be able to properly use and benefit from the Nimble.

The Nimble package opener is suitable for people with joint paint, little hand strength, tremors and reduced hand-eye coordination, as well as in many other situations. The device was developed and tested by over 150 people, some with disabilities, some without and the result is this effective and well-designed cutter for many different items in the home.

Safe on the skin

A unique benefit of the Nimble is the small blade means it is very difficult to hurt yourself. It is so small that the ridges of your skin ridges actually move out of the way and it doesn’t cut you. I know it sounds incredible but it is probably the safest cutter on the market today. This makes it particularly useful for anyone with dexterity problems. The bright yellow colour is also a boon for those with a visual impairment.

 

 

You can see exactly how the Nimble works in this useful video:

Order your nimble directly from Amazon here  http://amzn.to/2nAGEEC

 

 

 

New Greeper Thomas the Tank Engine Laces

Greeper Thoman the Tank Engine Laces

Greeper Laces and The National Autistic Society have teamed up to offer Thomas the Tank Engine Laces

Greeper Laces have recently launched a new collection of Thomas the Tank Engine laces to appeal to young fans of the hugely popular TV and book character. These new Thomas the Tank Engine Laces use  the same technology as all other products in their range but have the added bonus of raising money for charity and appealing even more to young wearers of Greepers.

The new Greeper Laces have been launched with The National Autistic Society and their launch coincides with the 70th birthday of the popular engine, who is a big hit with young children around the UK and beyond. Each pair of Greeper Thomas the Tank Engine Laces raises money for the National Autistic Society. They are popular with parents of children with Autistic Spectrum disorder but many other people too, as they offer independence to children with a range of motor disabilities.

Greeper Laces have previously featured in Your Autism Magazine and have a great relationship with the National Autistic Society so supporting their work through a new product is a positive move forward.

 Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Thomas the Tank Engine Laces

Thomas The Tank Engine is 70

Research from the National Autistic Society, via a survey in 2001, found evidence to suggest the perceived ‘special relationship’ those with autism spectrum disorder have with Thomas the Tank Engine is common. It found that people with autism spectrum disorders relate more closely to Thomas than other characters. The research found that 57% children on the autism spectrum related to Thomas before any other children’s character.

With this in mind it is with great timing and due to research and understanding that Greeper made the move to launch their Thomas the Tank Engine laces.

Greeper Thomas the Tank Engine Laces

Greeper Thomas the Tank Engine Laces

Greeper Thomas the Tank Engine Laces

The Greeper Thomas the Tank Engine Laces are designed to provide a fun and appealing option for younger children. They work in the same way as regular Greeper laces. Once they are applied to the shoes, they never come undone and they have the appearance of regularly tied laces. They remove the need to always choose Velcro shoes, which can feel babyish and awkward for children as they get older.

Each pair of Thomas the Tank Engine laces is black and they measures 100cm, making them suitable for up to six pairs of eyelets in children’s shoe sizes. They feature a Thomas the Tank Engine toggle at the point laces would naturally be tied and ensures they are instantly recognisable for fans of the popular train.

How do Greeper Laces work?

Greeper Laces are designed to provide a no-nonsense way of wearing shoes that require laces, with no need to tie them by hand. They are designed to be easy to loosen or tighten without untying them or needing to fiddle with their design. This video from shows exactly how they are fitted:

Once in place there is no need to mess with the fitting and as the video shows, they can be tightened and loosened via the attached toggle, which in the case of the new special edition Thomas the Tank laces, features the little Thomas charm.

Who wears Greeper Laces?

Greeper Laces for Triathletes

Greeper Laces for Triathletes

As mentioned Greeper Laces are a great choice for anybody who has difficulties with their fine or gross motor skills but they are also worn by triathletes, and have received a Best Triathlon Laces Award by 220 Triathlon Magazine. Consumers voted for Greepers as the best choice due to the strength, their polyester construction and their innovative locking system.

Greeper Laces come in a wide range of different styles and colours to ensure there is a pair for everybody. There are specific sports and hikers laces as well as those designed for everyday wear. They come in both flat and regular styles to ensure the range provides something for every individual who needs or wants to wear them.

Greeper even provide the Greeper Assist. This allows for one-handed adjustment, ideal for individuals with a weaker side or with one hand. The products have been designed with the aim of providing an easy to wear and adjust solution. It means people can stop relying on others or only wearing Velcro shoes. Greepers allow people to choose their own shoes and not have to think about making sure they only choose the ones that are easiest to wear, without thinking about personal style preferences.

Thomas the Tank Engine Laces Available Now

Greeper laces with a thomas tank engine toggle

The new, limited edition Thomas the Tank Engine Greeper Laces are available now, Their fun design is bound to be popular with children up and down the country, as a chance to enjoy their favourite character and celebrate his 70th birthday, whilst also supporting the National Autistic Society.

Buy now! We have 50 pairs of these special laces. Postage to UK only.


How many pairs?



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